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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

Four Ways to Achieve Greater Reuse

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Everyone talks about reusability -- the ability to write once, run everywhere.  But in reality, the deck is stacked against it.

That's the cautionary note sounded by Todd Biske, enterprise architect extraordinaire and author of SOA Governance: The Key to Successful SOA Adoption in Your Organization, in his latest Q&A hosted at SearchSOA.

Todd observes that since all development gets scoped at the project level, "the chances of having similar decisions around granularity, capability decomposition, interfaces are very slim."  Plus, organizations are simply not built to support sharing of services created in one silo across the other silos. "In a nutshell, there's a lot more to reuse than just building a service," he says.

But reusability is achievable, Todd says. He outlines the approaches architects and IT managers need to take to enable their companies to realize the benefits of reusing services and artifacts:

  1. Have a plan of attack. "Think broader than any one project," Todd advises. "Identify the areas for potential reuse to provide a framework for project teams to target their efforts."
  2. Build capability maps. These are the frameworks for making decisions about where service reuse can be applied.
  3. Determine targets for reuse: "Pair the capability domains up with business goals and organizational structure," Todd says. "This is a very important step, because just because something can be reused doesn't mean it should be." Configuring services and applications for reuse is more expensive, and therefore should have a clear business value.
  4. Establish reuse business goals: This drives where reuse takes place in the system stack. "If time to delivery is critical to meeting the strategic business goals, then the right amount of reuse for your organization may be in very well defined areas, typically in domains very low in the stack. If lowering operational costs is more important, then it may make sense to identify more areas and establish new service teams to obtain the maximum amount of cost savings possible."

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more

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